Pepper’s knock a tonic to Eagles

Brian Jeeves
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Essex Eagles v Hampshire Hawks – Vitality Bast – South Group – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Report

Hampshire Hawks 150/6 (20.0 overs)

Essex Eagles 152/2 (13.5 overs)

Essex Eagles won the toss and elected to bowl

Essex Eagles won by eight wickets

Man of the Match, Michael Pepper provided the fireworks as Essex Eagles returned to Vitality Blast South Group winning ways with an eight-wicket success over struggling Hampshire Hawks at Chelmsford.

Both sides went into the game looking to kickstart their Blast campaign after indifferent starts – Essex with one win from two, while the Hawks had lost both of their opening fixtures at the hands of Somerset and Middlesex.

The showery weather conditions enforced a late start to proceedings. But having taken the ball, Essex made a swift breakthrough as Sam Cook removed Aneurin Donald in the fifth over, while James Vince was snaffled in the gloves of Adam Rossington off a ball from Matt Critchley as the Essex bowlers initially kept the visitors’ top order in check. 

Indeed, Hampshire had found the going tough, finding themselves on 59 for two at the halfway mark. 

The introduction of Simon Harmer into the attack put pay to wicketkeeper/batter, Ben McDermott, who was going along at a run-a-ball. But although the South African caught Joe Weatherley off his own delivery for 38, Hampshire rallied to post 150/6. Ross Whiteley chipped in with 23 and James Fuller finished unbeaten on 24 – Harmer and Cook both returning figures of 2/16.

Pepper steadied the ship following the early dismissal of Will Buttleman – caught and bowled by Brad Wheal – in the second over. He passed fifty off 31 balls as the home side honed in on their second victory in three outings and went on to score a career-best 75* during his 51-minute stint at the crease.

Pepper’s unbeaten third-wicket partnership with Critchley yielded exactly 100 – the later finishing on 45 off 24 as Essex reached their target inside fourteen overs.

Essex Eagles return to Vitality Blast South Group action on Thursday, June 2 when they face Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (7:05pm).

Essex Eagles: WEL Buttleman, AM Rossington (WK), MS Pepper, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, T Westley, DR Sams, SR Harmer (Capt), ASS Nijjar, BMJ Allison, SJ Cook

Hampshire Hawks: BR McDermott (WK), AHT Donald, JM Vince (Capt), JJ Weatherley, LA Dawson, RA Whiteley, JK Fuller, SW Currie, NT Ellis, MS Crane, BTJ Wheal

Umpires: NJ Llong and CM Watts

Scorers: AE Choat and AC Mills

Match Referee: S Cummings

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk